Supermarket chains across Australia said they are considering implementing restrictions on how many products can be purchased per customer amid coronavirus fears.
Major supermarkets including Woolworths, Coles and Aldi have been hit by an unprecedented spike in customer demand for products including rice, bottled water, toilet paper, pasta and basic medical products such as Panadol and hand sanitiser.
CEO of Ritchies Supa IGA, Fred Harrison, said the sudden increase in demand has put a strain on certain suppliers.
"We started to see an increase last Thursday and it escalated quickly over the weekend and into this week," he told 2GB.
"The panic really isn't needed because there is adequate stock supply in Australia but if customers start buying four or five months-worth of supplies then that will put a strain on certain companies."
Mr Harrison confirmed that if suppliers began to struggle with consumer demand, they would consider enforcing limits on the number of products per customer.
"If they indicated we needed to control stock, something like that would make good sense," he said.
"We have to talk to suppliers first and be guided by their stock supply.
"We are starting to have those discussions with suppliers to see what their situation is."
Mr Harrison said the difficulty for many suppliers has not only been an increase in customer demand but access to certain products supplied by manufactures in China, which have since halted production.
"It's not just the raw product its all the packaging as well, a lot of which comes from China," he said.
Mr Harrison added it's not all doom and gloom.
"China is starting to return to normal, a lot of the major production houses are slowly but surely getting back on track and I think we will start to see an improvement over the next month," he said.
"Without any more severe outbreaks we will see international production return to normal in Chine and that will help."
The advice from Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been for Australians to stay calm and go about daily life as normal.
"You can continue to go about your daily business," Mr Morrison said today.
"Just exercise common sense as you would if there was a severe influenza outbreak."
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-supermarket-restrictions-control-panic-buying-shelves-emptied/36e3babe-2f76-49e2-b21c-84cbe7054112